Youth Voting

Engaging Youth Voters

Since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971, one trend has remained constant across all elections: our youngest voters have lower turnout rates than any other age group.

Years of research (see data from CIRCLE at Tuft’s University) reveal a number of ways to support young voters, and the potential solutions are as diverse as the communities served by our YMCAs around the country. That’s where you come in.

Every year, the Y will ask youth and adult staff/volunteers to sign our Youth Voter Pledge – an intragenerational effort to help transform the culture around youth voting in our schools and communities, ensuring the highest possible rates of youth voter turnout and engaging youth voices at all levels of government.


YMCA Youth Voter Pledge

By signing our Youth Voter Pledge, you’ll commit to taking part in four national Civic Holidays with the goal of transforming youth participation in your school and community.

Sign the pledge below, and ask your peers/colleagues to do the same. We’ll be accepting pledges for 2021 until National Voter Registration Day on September 28th:

Sign the Youth Voter Pledge | Opens Soon!

Once you’ve signed the pledge, you’ll be eligible to receive grant funding to engage youth voters on your school campus, in your community, and/or through your local YMCA.


Civic Holiday Celebrations

By signing our Youth Voter Pledge, you’ll take action on each of the Civic Holidays celebrated during the fall.

1.) National Voter Registration Day | Sept. 28th, 2021

  • Identify and introduce yourself to your local elections official, then develop a strategy to register 10 new youth voters ages 16/17/18 (depending on state) up to age 25 in your school/community on or before National Voter Registration Day.
  • Review a list of potential youth voter register strategies on our pledge resources page, and select the strategy that works best for your school/community.

2.) National Voter Education Week | Oct. 4-8, 2021

  • Celebrate each day of National Voter Education Week: #VoteReady (Monday), #MailReady (Tuesday), #VotePlanReady (Wednesday), #BallotReady (Thursday), and #WeReady (Friday).
  • Explore how you can celebrate each day at our pledge resources pages, and pick your preferred celebrations to implement.

3.) Vote Early Day | Oct. 23, 2021

  • Celebrate Vote Early Day by either voting early yourself (if eligible) or taking part in a Vote Early Day effort to help young people cast their ballots before Election Day.
  • Learn how to vote on/take part in Vote Early Day at our pledge resources page.

4.) Election Hero Day | Nov. 1, 2021

  • Finally, be part of Election Hero Day by signing-up to serve as a youth poll worker in your community through our partners at Power the Polls, or – if you’re an adult volunteer/staff – take part in youth poll worker recruitment strategies!
  • Visit our pledge resources page for ways you can help recruit more youth poll workers in your community.


Youth Voter Resources

In addition to the organizations and resources already mentioned, we have also organized an additional list of links and materials to help support your youth voter outreach efforts: